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As we search out a vocabulary of gesture—articulate action—with which to embody our old-new worship, we turn both to the ways of the ancestors and to our own experience.
A gesture of reverence that occurs again and again in the glyptic art of Minoan Crete is the gesture known to scholars as the “Minoan salute.” The worshiper stands before the deity with right fist raised to brow, elbow held high. Generally the left arm is held at the side.
The gesture is clearly a formal act of reverent attention, perhaps of greeting. Sometimes the fist is held with the thumb up, sometimes with the thumb to the brow. The standard reading of the gesture is that the worshiper is shielding his or her eyes from the radiance of the deity. Try it out and see what you think of this interpretation. I do not find it personally convincing because one shades one's eyes with an open hand. This, I suspect, is something else.
The Horned One holds the baby in his arms.
He sits on the altar, cross-legged, shining in the firelight, each tine of his branching antlers tipped with its own delicate bud of flame. He holds the child to his chest, as if suckling him. Not everyone is privileged to drink from the breast of the witches' god. It is a promise, the ancient gesture of adoption.
He rises to his feet, towering—his horns reach up to heaven—and holds the infant out to the assembled people.
Nestled in the heart of Ohio beneath a canopy of red and gold lies Camp Graham, the home of the Earth Warriors Festival. Seven years ago, under the direction of event organizer and shop owner, Heather Killen, members of the local pagan community gathered to create sacred space for growth and networking amongst those who walk the path of a warrior or guardian. Since then the festival has grown from being a small outdoor event to being one of the premier festivals in the nation.
Marvin Kaye and Parke Godwin, Masters of Solitude (1978)
After an invasion from China destroys the US, the megalopolis that covers the East Coast walls itself off from the wilderness to the West, where deer-like witches breed for psychic skills and create a genuine American witchery. Part of the fun is seeing what witch vocabulary might turn into in a few hundred years or so. (I don't need lep or a thammy to wish you a happy Grannog.) But those nasty coal-digging Kriss just keep cooking up toxic bugs to kill off the evil devil-worshipers. What to do?
Favorite line: “Who you callin' 'cowan'?”
Each year, sometime in the early part of November, a scrap of paper appears on my home altar. On it is a single name of someone I know--or the parent or partner or child or sibling of someone I know. It's the first and last name, usually.
That's the beginning of the Samhain list....